Join the Clarke monthly team!

Are you a people person? A team player? Do  you enjoy the collaborative spirit of working together as well as on your own? And a flexible schedule? You could be just right for the Clarke monthly sales team.

We are looking for in outgoing, friendly person who likes meeting people of all kinds,  and wants to help area business get seen in Clarke. As a part-time with Clarke monthly, you will work closely with our ad sales team to provide excellent service to existing and future advertisers. We are friendly folks, and need one more person on our team. Design experience helpful, but by no means required. 

Want to learn more? Send a note to Clarke monthly to tell us why you’d like to join the team and what relevant experience you have. Previous sales experience is helpful, but not required. Email

Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Westbrook To Deliver Memorial Day Message

Clarke County’s community Memorial Day Service will be held on Sunday, May 28, at 2pm in Rose Hill Park in Berryville. The theme of the program will be “Fallen But Not Forgotten: A Tribute in Our Anniversary Year”. 

In addition to the Town of Berryville observing its 225th anniversary, VFW Post 9760 is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2023. Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Westbrook, U.S. Army, will deliver the Memorial Day message. Commissioned as an infantry officer in 2003, Jonathan deployed to Iraq between 2004 and 2007 with the 82nd Airborne Division three times and with the 25th Infantry Division (Light) in 2008. He served in strategic positions from 2012 to 2023, including a fifth deployment to Iraq in 2019 to 2020. Jonathan is a recipient of the Airborne Badge, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Combat Action Badge, and the Ranger Tab. A member of VFW Post 9760, Lieutenant Colonel Westbrook and his family reside in Clarke County.

American Legion Post 41 Commander Tom Vorisek and VFW Post 9760 Commander Mike Blumenthal will lead the service. The Clarke County High School Band, led by Mark Curry, will provide prelude and postlude selections and the National Anthem. The Clarke County High School Chamber Choir, led by Kristi Snarsky, will perform two songs at the service. Colors will be posted and retired by The James Wood Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. The Clarke County Honor Guard, led by Chris Birch, will provide a military salute.

In addition to the Memorial Day Service, members of VFW Post 9760 and American Legion Post 41, and members of Boy Scout Troop 34 will place American flags at veterans’ gravesites at Green Hill Cemetery in Berryville on Saturday, May 27th at 9am. Volunteers will also place flags at Milton Valley Cemetery in Berryville during the Memorial Day weekend. 

In case of inclement weather, the Memorial Day Service will be held in Berryville’s Barns of Rose Hill, a cultural and civic center adjacent to Rose Hill Park. The sponsoring organizations, Clarke County Memorial VFW Post 9760 and American Legion Post 41, invite all attendees to join them at the VFW Post at 425 South Buckmarsh Street in Berryville for free refreshments and fellowship following the ceremony.

For additional information, contact Tom Vorisek, Memorial Day Committee member, at (540)303-0774

CCHS Plants Trees at Historic Cemetery

To mark Earth Day, Clarke County High School students and their horticulture teacher Allyson Snapp planted 32 trees at Milton Valley Cemetery on April 20. The project was funded with a new Virginia Department of Forestry “Forest Sustainability Grant.” Clarke County received grant money to make improvements at the historic cemetery at the east end of Josephine Street near Jack Enders Boulevard. New warehouses are under construction along the boulevard, and the trees will provide a visual buffer between the cemetery and the warehouses. Moore & Dorsey Nursery in Berryville donated 25 fast-growing Green Giant Arborvitae, six American Holly trees, and a Celestial Dogwood tree. Photo by Clarke County

Violin Virtuoso to Perform with Main Street Chamber Orchestra

Acclaimed violin virtuoso Akemi Takayama will be the featured soloist with the Main Street Chamber Orchestra on Saturday, May 13 at 4pm at Grace Episcopal Church in Berryville. The concert includes works by Beethoven, Mozart, and CPE Bach. 

Dr. Takayama will perform Mozart’s delightful Violin Concerto #5, “The Turkish”, so called due to the Turkish musical elements woven into its fourth movement. Mozart likely wrote this concerto for his own performance as it is full of virtuoso passages. 

Dr. Takayama, a founding member of the Main Street Chamber Orchestra (MSCO), is one of the most sought-after freelance musicians in the Mid Atlantic. In addition to her position as Associate Professor of Violin at Shenandoah Conservatory, where she holds the Victor Brown Endowed Chair in Violin, she is concertmaster of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra and the Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra. 

The second half of the May 13 concert is devoted to Beethoven’s jubilant Symphony No. 2. The composer Hector Berlioz said, “Everywhere in this piece, Beethoven smiles.” This is amazing when considering it was written when the composer was considering suicide over his deteriorating hearing. While there are a few dark clouds, Beethoven is here at his most optimistic, even including a few musical jokes.

The concert will open with Carl Philipp Emanual Bach’s Symphony No. 1. A son of J. S. Bach, CPE is known as the “Berlin” Bach for his years spent in that city. CPE was an early adopter of the new “sturm und drang” style that stressed wide extremes of emotion. The work will showcase the superb skills of the MSCO string musicians as they take on the storms. 

Tickets are on sale on our website, Students under 18 are free. The MSCO is pleased to introduce to the community its recently established board of directors. Jon Goldberg serves as president and music director; the Very Reverend Justin Ivatts, treasurer; Helena Goldberg, secretary; and Diana Kincannon, Dr. Donovan Stokes, and Lawrence Goldstein.

Southgate Farm’s Forte On To Derby

By Cathy Kuehner

The odds-on favorite to win the 149th Kentucky Derby is a dark bay colt raised on a Clarke County farm. Forte won four of five races as a 2-year old and both his starts as a 3-year old; most recently the $1 million Florida Derby in April. In 2014, Amy Moore, who owns South Gate Farm in Millwood, 

purchased a filly named Queen Caroline that won four stakes races and earned more than $400,000 before joining the South Gate broodmare band. Moore shipped Queen Caroline to Kentucky to be bred. Forte was born in February 2020, and Amy brought the foal and Queen Caroline back to Millwood, where the colt spent the remainder of his weanling year before going back to Kentucky for the 2020 fall sale at Keeneland.

The Kentucky Derby is the first leg of racing’s Triple Crown, and should Forte win the Preakness and Belmont stakes, too, he will be carrying on Clarke County’s long association with champion Thoroughbreds. In 1919, Sir Barton became the first-ever Triple Crown winner, and after his racing career he stood at stud at Audley Farm 

in Berryville.

The “Triple Crown” title was formally proclaimed in 1950 by the Thoroughbred Racing Association, and was retroactively awarded to horses that previously won all three races. In almost 150 years, only 13 horses have won the Triple Crown: Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1943), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977), Affirmed (1978), American Pharoah (2015), and Justify (2018).

Allegheny Serviceberry Named Tree of the Year

Representatives from the State Arboretum of Virginia at Blandy Experimental Farm have named the Allegheny serviceberry (Amelanchier laevis) as the 2023 Tree of the Year. The Arboretum’s 2023 Tree of the Year was selected after deliberation by Curator T’ai Roulston and Blandy arborists. Since 2019, the State Arboretum of Virginia has designated one extraordinary species of tree as its Tree of the Year.

In honor of Arbor Day, “the nation’s tree planting holiday,” Blandy arborists and representatives from the Department of Forestry will plant an Allegheny Serviceberry tree at the Arboretum on Friday, April 28. The tree will be added to a tree and shrub collection that dates to the 1930s.

“A vital part of our mission is to practice and promote tree education, science, and conservation,” said Roulston. “Through research and public programming, we want to share with everyone of all ages how important trees are to the environment.”

Four-season Interest

The Allegheny serviceberry, found native in Virginia, was chosen for its four-season interest, according to Roulston. A small understory tree, it’s ideal for landscapes and grows to only 15-25 feet tall.

The Allegheny serviceberry is one of the first trees at the arboretum to flower each spring when the delicate masses of white, fragrant flowers appear in mid April. Small, dark purple berry-like fruit arrives in the summer. Also commonly known as juneberries, the edible berries attract pollinators and are a food source for native bees and more than 40 species of birds.

The fall foliage of the Allegheny serviceberry, when the leaves turn an orange-red color, is outstanding as well. The tree’s attractive gray bark lends structure to the winter garden.

Juneberries Serves as Food Source for Wildlife, Humans

Native Americans would dry juneberries, similar in size and taste to blueberries, and mix them with meat to create a high-energy snack called pemmican. Recipes for juneberry pies and jams are easy to find. If you want to eat the berries, though, you’d better be fast. Birds, squirrels, and other wildlife also enjoy the fruit.

How the Allegheny Serviceberry Gets Its Name

For settlers in the colder climates of North America, the blooming of the serviceberry was a sign that the ground was thawing. Graves could now be dug for loved ones who had died during the cold winter months and burial “services” could commence.

In some areas, the serviceberry is called shadbush or shadblow. The tree got this name because it blooms around the same time that shad return to their spawning grounds in freshwater rivers and streams. Common names also include smooth shadbush, juneberry and shadberry.

This is Blandy’s fifth pick for Tree of the Year. Past Trees of the Year include:

2022: American Sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) 

2021: Pawpaw (Asimina triloba)

2020: Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

2019: Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis)

The State Arboretum of Virginia is home to more than 6,000 woody trees and shrubs, including a unique 300-tree ginkgo grove and a 36-tree Cedar of Lebanon allée. The Arboretum staff and many volunteers help to thoughtfully grow the collection each year by planting new and replacement trees.The Arboretum is part of Blandy Experimental Farm, a research field station for the University of Virginia’s Department of Environmental Sciences. Blandy Experimental Farm is on Route 50 in Clarke County, about 10 miles east of Winchester and 20 miles west of Middleburg. Directions and a calendar of events are online at

Clarke County Sheriff Tony Roper To Retire

By Cathy Kuehner

Clarke County Sheriff Anthony W. “Tony” Roper formally announced his forthcoming retirement during a brief event in front of Circuit Court on April 21. He first ran for sheriff — and was elected — in 2003, beginning his first term in January 2004. Clarke County voters elected him to his fifth four-year term in November 2019. His current term ends December 31.
Roper, 63, began his law enforcement career as a 911 dispatcher after graduating from Clarke County High School in 1978. He was a correctional officer when the county jail was located in the circa-1892 building that still serves as the
Sheriff’s Office.

He attended Bluefield College in Virginia, and graduated from the Virginia Forensic Science Academy, the executive-level law enforcement training from the FBI National Academy at Quantico. Later he graduated from the National Sheriff’s Institute in
Longmont, Colo.

Roper worked as a sheriff’s deputy in Loudoun County for a couple years before returning to the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office, where he became an investigator focused on narcotics cases. He is a founding member of the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force and the regional FBI Drugs and Violent Crime Task Force. He was working with the FBI on 9/11.
Why a career in law enforcement? Roper laughed. “As a teenager I watched a lot of television cop shows like ‘Starsky & Hutch’
and ‘Baretta.’’

Every Virginia county and city elects their sheriffs, who are responsible for upholding and enforcing all the laws of the state and
local governments.

Roper, a Democrat, has been elected five times to serve as Clarke County’s Sheriff. He considers getting the sheriff’s office accredited by the Virginia Law Enforcement Professional Standards Commission in November 2011 a major accomplishment.
Accreditation by the commission, affiliated with the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services, requires meeting a lengthy list of standards for best practices, from traffic enforcement, to criminal investigations, to the
budget process.

In 2016, Roper joined the state’s Criminal Justice Services Board, a 32-member group drawn from state and local governments, the private security industry, the General Assembly and public that serves as the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services
policy board.

Roper also serves the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program, an outgrowth of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; the Virginia Center for Policing Innovation, which addresses critical and emerging public safety issues; and the Northwestern Regional Jail Authority that governs the Northwestern Regional Adult Detention Center. Previously, and for many years, Roper served on the Virginia Sheriffs’ Institute Board and was its president for a term.

He expects to serve on some boards after he retires. “I have purpose, and I’m focused on the future,” he said.
Until he retires, Roper remains dedicated to serving Clarke residents and business owners as well as those who are visiting or simply driving through the county.

Roper sometimes jokes that he simply does not allow crime in Clarke County. The reality, he said, is that crime is here, and the challenges have not changed over the years: drugs, drunk driving, domestic violence, and property crimes. Roper said violent crimes are rare in Clarke, but traffic-related incidents and accidents
are constant.

“Human beings are going to be human beings,” he said, adding that he gives great thought to all possible worst-case scenarios.
Roper describes himself as forward thinking and hopeful by nature, but says he also worries about having the staff and resources to cover all of Clarke County. “I’m always asking myself, ‘Am I paying enough attention to all parts of
the county?’”

Roper oversees a staff of 40 employees — full-time and part-time deputies, 911 dispatchers, and an administrative assistant. There are 20 full-time “sworn” deputies, including Roper. “I know that when law enforcement is on scene, the people we speak with are under enormous stress,” Roper said. “So, we do our work with professionalism as well as compassion, and we let them know that no matter the situation, everything is going to be OK.”

During this time in particular, when law enforcement agencies across the country are under scrutiny, “I remind our deputies to go out into our community and find out how much they are appreciated,” Roper said.
He continued, “And, I can’t tell you how many people I’ve arrested over the years who have later thanked me for helping them to straighten out their lives.”
Clarke County’s first sheriff, George H. Norris, was appointed in 1836 after Clarke County (previously eastern Frederick County) was formed by the General Assembly, and a new government was established with courts and law enforcement. Many sheriffs were elected to multiple terms, including the three who served over the past 50 years: Albert Nicodemus (first elected in 1972), Dale Gardner (first elected in 1988), and Clarke County’s 25th sheriff, Tony Roper.

Roper and his wife Karen live in the Wildcat Hollow area of the county; they have three grown children and eight grandchildren. One son and a grandson are deputies with the Frederick County, Va., Sheriff’s Office.
As for 2024 and retirement, “I have no idea what’s next. My plan right now is to take a couple months and do nothing.”

Remembering Paul Neil Wilson

November 6, 1954 – April 4, 2023

Paul Neil Wilson, 68, of Boyce Virginia, passed away Tuesday, April 4th at the Blue Ridge Hospice Inpatient Care Center in Winchester, Virginia, after a brief and valiant fight against cancer.

Paul was born November 6, 1954, in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is survived by his wife of 37 years, Karyn Treble Wilson, his mother Barbara Wilson of Ashburn, Va., brothers Daniel Wilson (Elizabeth)) of Sewickley, Penna., and Ben Wilson of Denver, Colo., and many nieces and nephews who cherished their Uncle Paul. His father Lee Wilson
predeceased him.

Paul grew up in Corning, New York. He was a proud graduate of Virginia Tech University, where he earned his BS in Finance and Economics. Paul began his career in finance with Corning Inc., in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he advanced to management, overseeing the manufacture of resistors and capacitors. He ultimately made a successful career change into the sale of electronic hardware while continuing at Corning. Paul completed his career in the Washington, D.C., area working with companies focused on defense and the space program.

Family and friendship were at the core of Paul’s life, and he found his true partner in Karyn. After dating for six years, they married in 1985 and made their home in Fairfax. Longing for space in the countryside, they purchased a farm in Purcellville in 1999 and operated a thriving equestrian business. Paul was an avid fox hunter and a Master of Fox Hounds (MFH) for both the Fairfax Hunt in 2003 and the Loudoun Fairfax Hunt following a merger in 2011. After Paul retired as MFH in 2019, he and Karyn moved west to Boyce where they joined the Blue Ridge Hunt in 2020. They purchased their dream farm in prime hunt country in 2022.

Paul possessed a deep affinity for music. He was an accomplished guitarist. In his teenage years, he played guitar for the rock band Dakota in Corning from 1970 to 1974. The band quickly gained popularity with an extensive touring schedule that included playing as a back-up band for Blue Oyster Cult. Paul found refuge in music and played his guitar daily. He was often seen happily driving through the Virginia countryside in his 2017 Grand Sport Corvette, with his favorite music playing.

Paul never met a stranger, and his warm, affable demeanor made all who were fortunate enough to be around him feel as they were the most important person in the world. He delighted in his friendships, never took
himself too seriously, and was always a light in dark places for so many. His loss is enormous for those who knew him, but what joy there is in having had the privilege.

A memorial service will be held on Friday May 5 at 11am at Christ Church, 809 Bishop Meade Road, Millwood, Va., followed by a hunt country tailgate reception at their farm in Boyce. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to Blue Ridge Hospice at

Eagle Project at Chet Hobert Park

Seventeen-year old Matthew Marsden of Berryville (center) has completed his Eagle Scout project at Chet Hobert Park. He and friends Evan Dyer and Gabriel Ignacio – all members of Boy Scout Troop 34 – installed five benches and built a raised planter in a garden area that honors the late Jay Hillerson. Hillerson, who died in August 2020, was a founding member of the Parks and Recreation Council (now Advisory Board) when it was formed in 1986. In March 2022, friends built a memorial garden near the Rotary Shelter. Trees were planted and a footpath was created. Thanks to Matthew, the garden now completes the vision for the garden. A Scout since the first grade, Matthew asked the Clarke County Parks and Recreation Department what it needed and then raised funds and donations for the project. The youngest of Patrick and Michele Marsden’s four sons – Eagle Scouts all – Matthew will attend the University of Alabama in the fall. PHOTO BY CLARKE COUNTY